How To Choose The Best Rotary Laser Level

The rotary laser level is a machine that emits laser light beam Horizontal, Vertical. Used to determine the balance point or straight line, perpendicular to the horizontal line correctly. Help for builders or interior quickly measures to ensure the accuracy of the work.

Its composition is quite simple and be divided into two types of high precision and low. The device is designed in accordance with many lasers in different directions will have higher accuracy and produce more realistic figures. The rotary laser level can operate for up to 20 hours and work on many different environments. When operating in locations with strong light, it is possible to toggle bold rays so that consumers can easily observe when measured. So you can read rotary laser level reviews to know about the products.

DeWalt Laser Level

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Towson-based Black & Decker Corp. sues two companies over laser level patents

Black & Decker Corp. thinks rivals Newell Rubbermaid Inc. and The Stanley Works are not on the level.

It sued the two companies this week alleging patent infringement involving its laser level tools.

The nation’s largest maker of power tools claimed Newell Rubbermaid and Stanley violated patents it gained in 1996 and this July for the popular instruments, used for precision building and picture hanging.

The filing was made Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Delaware. The suit names five tools made by Newell Rubbermaid that violate the patent. It also lists eight gadgets produced by Stanley, including some tools the company acquired after buying CST/Berger in 2004. The unit had specialized in making laser and optical leveling and measuring equipment.

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Towson-based Black & Decker seeks unspecified damages in the case and a jury trial. The company sold more than $3.6 billion in power tools and accessories last year. A spokeswoman for the tool giant declined to comment on company matters under litigation.

Many companies offer the laser levels. The inventions transformed the old water-bubble method to measure angles, instead using a digital device that also can project laser guided lines on walls for aligning projects. Home Depot alone sells 91 versions of laser level tools ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to $2,000 dollars.

  • Stanley Works, based in New Britain, Conn., has been in the laser measuring and layout business for over 25 years, according to the company.
  • “We obviously cannot comment until we’ve been served with the lawsuit,” said Stanley spokesman Tim Perra. Stanley saw sales of $3 billion last year.
  • An analyst, who declined to be named, said it was difficult to estimate what the suit might mean in dollar figures until Black & Decker released more information pertaining to its claims and requested damages.
  • At a minimum, the toolmaker said it sought reasonable royalty fees for the sales of Newell Rubbermaid and Stanley products that infringed on its patents.
  • Newell Rubbermaid, which is headquartered in Atlanta, makes products from tools to household items like Calphalon pans. It had sales of $6.7 billion in 2004

A representative from Newell Rubbermaid also said little about the filing.

“At this time we decline to comment as we will respond through the legal process in due course,” said spokeswoman Cari Davidson

Hang ’em High – How To Hang Pictures On Walls

In the age of digital prints, don’t lose the hang of displaying your works.’ IT IS easy to become a bit lazy when it comes to having our digital family photographs printed and displayed. It is so tempting to just dump them on the computer and leave them there to look at.

Personally, I’d much rather have my favourites printed and framed, and then hang them on the walls for all to enjoy. The same goes for a whole collection of objects and artworks. Hanging pictures properly and securely is not a difficult job and the rewards are immediate.

Gathering the tools you will need:

  • Pencil
  • Calculator
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Cordless drill
  • Hammer drill (masonry walls only)
  • A laser level

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If you find yourself hanging a lot of pictures, shelves or even the occasional plasma TV on walls, you might consider buying a laser level. There is a great range of DIY-quality laser levels available. You can pick one up for well under $100 at any hardware store.

Choosing the right hardware is more difficult as there are so many types of walls and wall anchors, and if you don’t make a good assessment of the job before heading to the hardware store you’ll more than likely end up buying the wrong item for the task. Examine the picture to be hung, the type of hanging devices attached to it, its weight and size. Then examine the wall where it is to be hung, determine what material it is constructed from, its thickness and surface type. If it is a stud-frame wall, try to locate the studs. All of this information will help you choose the right fixings.

Masonry walls

For masonry walls, you can’t go past the old plastic, expanding plugs. Red or green plugs will be strong enough for most works. Fit the right-sized masonry drill bit into your hammer drill and make a hole the correct depth, clean out the dustA and tap in the plug. If there is any excess protruding, cut it off with a sharp chisel before driving in a screw.

Plasterboard walls

For plasterboard walls, most pieces can be hung from screw-in plasterboard wall anchors, such as wall mates. These are inserted with a screwdriver or cordless drill and have a three-pronged end on them that pierces the wall, and then a deep, open-threaded shaft that imbeds itself into the plasterboard. Once screwed into the wall an ordinary wood screw can be inserted into the centre of the anchor to hang from. These types of anchors will hold up to 10 kilograms each. If you are lucky enough to have a stud in the right position, just the wood screw will do. Use a minimum 45-millimetre eight-gauge. If the plasterboard has a wallpaper surface, consider using some angle-drive picture hooks.

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Fibre cement or plywood walls

If your walls are made of thin fibre cement or plywood, try sticking to the stud positions. If the studs don’t work out and you have to hang from the board, use a toggle-type anchor. These require a hole to be drilled first (beware of asbestos) and the toggle device is then pushed through the hole. Once into the cavity the toggle will either drop or spring open (depending on the type chosen). The screw at the front of the toggle is then tightened to clamp the device to either side of the wall surface.

If you have thin-surfaced walls, or you like to change your displays often, consider installing a picture rail or track system. Can’t face DIY? If all of this still seems a bit out of your comfort zone, then most good framers will be able to organise picture hanging for you. Alternatively, try a professional art installer such as Chapman, phone 0411-195-294.

Future Tools Closer Than You Think

A decade from now, hardware retailers might reminisce about today’s cutting-edge saws with laser guides and lightweight but powerful cordless drills and laugh at how antiquated and rudimentary these tools for do-it-yourselfers became.

Sound far-fetched? Not really, considering how quickly technology and product innovation keep pushing the industry toward smarter, more efficient power tools similar to the fast-paced evolution of telecommunications and computers.

“It’s amazing how far tools have come in the last five to 10 years in terms of components getting lighter, smaller, more powerful and more durable,” said Vince Caito, marketing communications manager for Makita.

So while tomorrow’s power tools might not quite reach robotic level–after all, what’s the fun in that for the weekend DIYer–it may not be a stretch to imagine microchip-sized batteries powering a 30-volt drill driver that constructs a storage shed in record time, with less strain on the hand and a low record for injuries.

Already in the past year, suppliers have come up with myriad innovations in power tools to make home improvement projects simpler, faster and safer. And technological innovations that started in the pro market are now filtering down to consumer products, with the shift in preference continuing toward cordless power tools.

The use of lasers in tools has been one of the hottest trends this past year. Laser light beams used in levels are now being incorporated into more sophisticated measuring devices as well as other tools, such as Craftsman saws from Sears.

“Last year we saw the beginning of lasers coming into the consumer market, and this year we expect that trend to continue,” said Joe Deering, director of product management for Black & Decker.

The company’s Bulls Eye laser level and stud finder that debuted last year was a huge hit with the consumer market. B&D has since added three new laser levels: the Bullet, Crosshair and 360-degree laser level. The Bullet is a manual laser level that transmits a 10-foot straight line horizontally or vertically, while the Crosshair assists with such tasks as hanging pictures by transmitting perpendicular level lines. The 360-degree level comes with a tripod and transmits a horizontal level line around the perimeter of a room. Pricing on these levels ranges from $29 to $149.

Sears, meanwhile, launched several tools this spring with laser features: a level, circular saw, compound miter saw and radial arm saw. The laser line projected from the Craftsman saws assists in cutting, said Bill Masterson, a Sears spokesman.

Rather than lasers, built-in lights have been a focus at Makita and Skil. Tim Brasher, director of brand marketing for Skil power tools, said these features help illuminate work areas, particularly in dark shop environments such as garages and basements.

“They’ve been hugely successful. It’s not gimmick lights. They’re work lights that put light where you need it,” said Brasher of a Skil’s lighted tool line, which includes drills, saws and routers.

Whether it’s a laser line guide or more light, added features are an overriding trend in power tools. Skil’s newest 18-volt cordless drill driver is a prime example, with a host of extras that include a battery charge meter, bit storage, built-in work light and detachable stud finder. The $99 kit sold at home centers and hardware stores comes with two batteries and a one-hour quick battery charger.

“It’s loaded with a lot of features to help give you confidence you can start and finish a job and be happy with it, all the way down to the battery,” explained Brasher.

Laser

Consumers continue to want their power tools to do more, or to at least be able to use an interchangeable battery. Therefore, combination power tool kits continue to be popular, such as Black & Decker’s Firestorm cordless multi-tool. Now larger corded tools are becoming interchangeable, such as a router kit from Ryobi, a brand sold exclusively at The Home Depot. This new item from Ryobi features separate attachments to convert between plunge, fixed-base and fixed D-handle types of routers. The router combo kit shipped last month and will sell for $179.

Safety and comfort are other key benefits. Ergonomic grips continue to be emphasized by major vendors, including a new GelMax line from Black & Decker that features gel cushion grips on a jig saw, power sander, sander/polisher and drill/driver.

Finally, lighter-weight cordless tools with longer run times remain a priority. Battery technology continues to improve, resulting in less bulky tools with higher power and longer run times. Today’s norm in drill drivers for the consumer market is 14.4 volts versus 7.6 volts at the beginning of the cordless boom.

As DIYers seek out better products, lines are increasingly becoming blurred between the consumer and pro segments. In fact, more competitive activity has been taking place on the pro side due to Home Depot’s recent launch of a professional-grade Ridgid power tool line. The 35-tool line, available exclusively at Home Depot or through industrial supply centers, includes cordless drills, miter saws with laser guides and an innovative table saw. OWT Industries developed the tools in a joint venture with Emerson Professional Tools, owner of the Ridgid brand.

“We looked at charge time on batteries and came up with a charger that can charge in half the time or less,” said Bryan Whiffen, general manager of the power division of OWT, describing one of the key selling features of the new Ridgid tool line.

Cordless drills in the Ridgid series take only 20 minutes to charge, while some corded tools have extended-life motors. Though the average consumer probably won’t gravitate to this line, it does show the direction the power tool market is heading. By 2013, this state-of-the-industry professional power tool line may eventually become the norm for average DIYers to be found at Sears and Wal-Mart.

Tools this season? Nope! Bring on the decorations; Lowe’s, Home Depot vie for holiday action

Each year, the Drehers of Snellville buy a new holiday item for the yard. This year they had to drive to three stores before they found it.

“I had to go from Lowe’s to Lowe’s to Lowe’s,” said Judy Dreher, who dropped $60 on an illuminated ice block man with red earmuffs and a scarf. “They were sold out of it at a few stores, but my husband said it was the new thing he had to have.”

Looking for ways to bolster sales in an otherwise slow time of year, home improvement chains are going beyond pushing drills and laser levels to attract holiday spenders. They’re using growing selections of decorations — including eye-popping, life-sized snowmen, inflatable snow globes and animated grazing does — to lure shoppers in the doors.

  • The fourth quarter is typically among the slowest for sales all year for Lowe’s and Home Depot. So they’ve tried to get a bigger piece of the seasonal pie spent on decorations.
  • Consumers are expected to spend an average of $40.86 each on holiday decorating items, and that’s up nearly 20 percent in the last two years, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • One part of the strategy is to get shoppers in the stores, where other gift ideas may come to mind.

“You’re seeing more of a focus by home improvement retailers in getting beyond Christmas trees, stands and lighting,” said Mark Delaney, director of home improvement for the NPD Group, a consumer research firm.

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“If you can get the consumer in with the lure of ornaments or holiday lighting, they tend to stay and look around.”

  • In recent years, Home Depot and Lowe’s have expanded their assortments of inflatables and other lighted holiday decorations, despite competition from Wal-Mart, drugstores and others.
  • Atlanta-based Home Depot began a push to attract holiday shoppers in 2003, when it debuted a colorful, glossy holiday catalog mailer.
  • It also hyped day-after Thanksgiving door busters, including flat-panel TVs and other things you don’t typically see in home improvement stores. This year, the chain is pushing gifts including gift cards on TV, starring an elf character.
  • Lowe’s is going after women customers with a deeper assortment of holiday decorations, including tabletop figurines, ornaments, lighted wreaths and faux trees, with the hopes they’ll also pick up a drill or can of paint while in the store. It also regularly stocks blenders and coffee makers.

Patti Price, Lowe’s vice president of merchandising, said the chain added several new inflatable products this year, including self-inflatable snow globes, which range in price from $20 to $200 depending on size. She said they’re practically sold out.

“We couldn’t believe it,” Price said. “Early on we had stores screaming for more. They’ve been the hottest thing this year.”

A Ranking of The Top Brand Name Products at Discount Stores

Abstract

The Top Brand Survey reveals that Black and Decker and Stanley continue to dominate the category, with 60% and 57% of consumer respondents naming the brands as top performers, respectively. The top consumer brand preferences after Black and Decker and Stanley are Wal-Mart’s private brand Popular Mechanics, General Electric, and Skil.

Full Text

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As usual for the past five years, Black & Decker and Stanley dominated the Top 10 rankings in hardware. But what is new is that Stanley closed the gap to only 4 percentage points behind B&D, compared to 16 points last year.

Stanley is in the midst of a major restructuring, lopping off 25% of its work force and focusing on new product development such as Laser Levels in its intelligent tools lineup.

It’s improvement came in the face of major reductions in its brand offerings at Wal-Mart and Kmart after they trotted out their private label tool programs.

For its part, B&D improved its grip a bit on the top spot, with six out of 10 retailer respondents naming it a top brand. In recent years, B&D had been concentrating on its DeWalt line of power tools for the professionals, at the expense of new introductions for the DIY customer in discount stores.

But of late, B&D has gotten back to its bread and butter origins, introducing new power tools, such as its Wizard rotary tool in both cordless and Versa-Pak battery operated versions that compete with industry leader Dremel. And it has beefed up the power of cordless drills to a model that runs on 18 volts, up from 12 volts.

Another major development is that Popular Mechanics, Wal-Mart’s private label in hardware, made a strong gain to the No. 3 spot with 20% of respondents naming it a top performing brand. In the 1995 survey, Popular Mechanics had been at 12% but slipped last year to 7%.

Wal-Mart has been slowing expanding Popular Mechanics offerings to include shop tools, such as floor jacks, shop tool chests and creepers, in a crossover into automotives. The preponderance of offerings in mechanics’ and carpenters’ hand tools now are from the Popular Mechanics line, a name Wal-Mart licensed from publishers of the magazine for DIYers.

Skil also made a strong double digit showing in the rankings. As the mass market division of Bosch, Skil has established itself as a major competitor to B&D in discount store power tools by expanding on its line of tools sold exclusively at discounters, while its parent company focuses on professional power tools sold at home centers.

Skil made a double digit showing at 14%, close on the heels of General Electric at 16%.

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Below those top five, however, retailer support for top brands falls to the mid to low single digits, such as 6% for BenchTop, Kmart’s private label tool brand.

  • Last year, BenchTop failed to make the top 10 at all, and this year’s showing reflects Kmart’s decision to make BenchTop one of the surviving private label brands after winnowing out scores of others.
  • Rubbermaid has been introducing many new products, such as tool sheds, which may be indicated in the slight improvement in its standing to 5%.
  • Makita, traditionally a power tool brand for professional tradesmen, made the top 10 list for the first time ever with a 3% showing. A few Makita tools have edged their way onto discounter shelves.
  • That put it in a three-way tie with Dutch Boy, a Sherwin Williams paint brand for the mass market, and All-Trade, a Chinese-made hand tool line that has received a great deal of shelf space at Wal-Mart and Kmart as a cheaper alternative to their private label offerings.
  • Some variations appeared in the level of support among managers of the Big Three stores.

B&D drew its best showing at Target, where 71% of its managers interviewed cited it as a best performer, and Kmart, where 73% named it a top brand. That compares with 46% of Wal-Mart managers, even though Wal-Mart offers the largest power tool selection of the three.

Stanley was somewhat stronger at Kmart, 59%, than Wal-Mart, 50%, and Target, 52%.

Larger variations appeared from regional results.

  • B&D was much stronger in its Northeast home territory, where 89% of managers named it a top brand, than in the West, 47%. North Central retailers came in at 69% and Southern retailers at 52%.
  • Stanley also made its strongest showing on its home turf with 90% of respondents citing it as a top brand. That compares with 50% to 54% in the other three regions.
  • In the Power Brands ratings, a combined indicator of strength among both retailers and consumers, Stanley edged out B&D with an index ranking of 300, compared to 242 for B&D.
  • Of consumers surveyed, only 52% mentioned a favorite hardware brand, down to the 1993 level. That puts hardware in the bottom third of 26 categories when it comes to brand preference among consumers.
  • Conversely, consumers indicated a strong willingness to buy a private label hardware product, with 76% saying they’d be willing to buy a store brand. That is third only to greeting cards and stationery and only a few percentage points behind both.
  • Despite consumer openness to buying private label hardware products, only 2% of retailers said their chains had increased private label hardware brands, while 2% said their chains had increased national brands.

Only one out of four consumers said they were “sure” that their favorite discount store would have their favorite hardware brand.

As with automotives, consumer enthusiasm for the top hardware brands was far weaker than among retailers.

In citing their favorite brands, consumers put Stanley No. 1 at 18%. That ranks neck and neck with General Electric, 17%. They put B&D in third place with 10%. All others ranked in the low single digits, and a handful of responses can either knock a brand off the top 10 list or place it on.

  • No significant variations in consumer preference for the top three at the Big Three emerged from this year’s survey.
  • By age category, though, some slight variations appeared.

Although Stanley is a 150-year-old brand, Buster consumers, those under the age of 35, preferred it slightly more than Boomers, ages 35 to 49 and Empty Nesters, age 50 plus. The rankings: 22% for younger consumers to 17% for the older age groups.

Among the over 50 group, GE was more popular as a preferred brand, 23%, compared to 12% of Baby Boomers and 17% of younger consumers.

B&D made its best showing among Boomers, 15%, compared to 3% for Empty Nesters and close to 13% among Busters.

Discounters

Brand 1997 1996
Black & Decker 60% 57%
Stanley 57 40
Popular Mechanics 20 7
General Electric 16 4
Skil 14 5
BenchTop 6
Rubbermaid 5 3
Bull Dog 4
Makita 3
Dutch Boy 3 6

Discount Store Shoppers

Brand 1997 1996
Stanley 18% 12%
General Electric 17 11
Black & Decker 10 15
Glidden 4 5
Skil 3 4
Dupont 2
Benjamin Moore 2
Sherwin Williams 2 4
Kwik Set 1
Master 1 1

— Not applicable; did not receive any responses in 1996

% of mentions as a top performing or preferred brand